WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first companies to supply managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
While they have plenty of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and website home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services supplied. Some just have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of choices, however as a whole, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and customized WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, but it is necessary to understand before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a great deal of WP Engine evaluates online, generally with user-generated reviews based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different method. This evaluation will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
I’ve utilized WP Engine for different jobs since 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary websites right now (see conclusion), however I do have a present customer on WP Engine who definitely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does practically measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “spectacular speed, effective security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into site speed, however the guideline is that the more complex your site is, the more complex the solutions to speed ended up being.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mostly text site with a few fundamental plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be fine with a budget friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But couple of website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s normally additional plugins, custom theme files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features integrated with decent levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress install.
But a slow website doesn’t mean that you require a bigger, much better server. It does suggest that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Envision you are trying to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you might simply need to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and combine your load.
The point is that WordPress requires assistance to stay fast as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … but either you or a developer must implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting can be found in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with very aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and recognize the precise chokepoint to get your website moving. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or complex the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services because you are complimentary to focus on speed aspects that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, however they likewise provide international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
Consumer support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the business has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the tough aspect of client support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is because they talked to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a company deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I prefer to search for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 need an investment of money, time and proficiency.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (including phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based upon their guide videos and extensive knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually communicated with really knew the fine functions of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to obtain on (and stay on) the phone, but he had the ability to expertly help us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after numerous concerns (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically since their custom platform puts a great deal of pressure on fast, accessible support (as I’ll show in the drawbacks). However they appear to know that support is core to their value and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a concern with all software. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a huge community launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress set up, the security fundamentals are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I utilize JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the industrial arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is uncomplicated, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your site secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & prepared to roll back if something occurs. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues globally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with leading security companies on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never been hacked on my primary/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have assisted customers who have been. It’s frustrating, tiresome & a normally expensive circumstance (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress install is a huge pro in my book. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the very same cost from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, basically as many as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run websites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that pricing disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the important things.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall worth & factor in your very own (or your developer’s) time, their rates is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around Thirty Minutes each month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that might be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Additionally, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to discuss any individual or developer time fixing concerns.
Basically, if your time is better designated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s really their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 kinds of consumers that WP Engine seems to be a fit for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first consumer type appears to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on development & style without dealing with hosting maintenance, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can ensure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing standard website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing site owner who is frustrated at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to transfer to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that process happen. The phone support is a key element, specifically having the ability to “just call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The third consumer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable learning WP Engine’s special backend and intend on releasing a near-complete website at one time.
They do not have any prior practices or customs brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of client.
With these kinds of customers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), instead of mass-market improvements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
WP Engine stands out not only on existing features however likewise on developing brand-new, advanced hosting functions. Every version of WordPress 4 has presented new developer functions that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even basic web advancement best practices have changed radically since I started observing the market *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate finest practices into application & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of are valid due to the fact that they simply aren’t a suitable for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a great suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this site due to the fact that I do not need a number of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture downsides of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite complicated– specifically if you have simply adequate experience with hosting environments to be dangerous.
Their backend setup has improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they also do not provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features exist, the unique backend can lead to some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev site available to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more newbie clients than they currently do.
Like many custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
Here is their video on pressing your site live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting websites, however I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Once again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (when you surpass the learning curve). But for many, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never truly stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a wide variety of website checklists to assist troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply look after it all.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not need to enter the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you do not have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
WP Engine’s exclusive setup cuts both methods terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise related to WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture as well as possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or really genuine physical limitations), however WP Engine goes a bit more to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit specific plugins & admin behavior for good factors, however those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad necessarily. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The method their pricing is structured allows for less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based on a variety of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or simply wish to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to factor extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached site on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Service. And this point goes further if your site requires numerous plugins for full performance.
The very same goes for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for efficiency, not for storage. So if you are seeking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t actually do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & ended up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail service provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you really don’t get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and usually visiting often), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails
Many shared hosting servers can handle the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) managed more than 15,000 visits in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly manage a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count visits, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how rapidly they can get into the $290 per month tier.
And as pointed out earlier that does not even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a couple of side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the rate. You cannot utilize them to expand the cost of your plan,particularly if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are wanting to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your website files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, specifically compared with other non-managed hosting alternatives.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best general, but what is best for you based upon your goals, spending plan, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use a fantastic service with a strong product. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brand names. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site designers and/or high-traffic sites that don’t want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back warranty. So do a test set up and see what you consider their backend. Make sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more liberty/ better costs than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I have actually appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. WordPress Optimize Thumbnails